Chicago Tribune
March 31, 1986

'Perfect Strangers' review

Whatever one may say about ABC's new entry, "Perfect Strangers" -- and, admittedly, it isn't all that much -- it must be conceded that it has reached new imaginative heights by undoubtedly becoming the first television sitcom to feature, as one of its protagonists, a professional shepherd.

In the opening episode last week -- the series airs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Channel 7 -- we learned that Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) left his crook back on a small Mediterranean island and unexpectedly arrived on the Chicago doorstep of Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker), a far-distant cousin.  An aspiring photojournalist, Larry currently works in a discount store run by a barking boss named Donald (Twinkie) Twinkacetti (Ernie Sabella), who variously calls his cheerful employee "yo-yo" and "pinhead."

Fresh off the pasture, Balki announced that he had finally set foot in "the land of my dreams . . . home of the Whopper," shook his head over such marvels as sofa beds and pink lemonade and, predictably, committed heavily accented gaffes ("I want to get a few things off my neck").  What's more, green as he is, he roared right in with all kinds of American zingers.  (Asked if he can repair radios, he answered, "Does Telly Savalas love you, baby?")

Despite the sorry script, the two leads are appealing enough, especially Pinchot, the scene-stealing art gallery clerk in "Beverly Hills Cop," whose character just might carry the series along.  As soon as Twinkie stops calling him "turnip."